12th June - 1st September 2002
This exhibition comprised 80 paintings and 10 pieces of sculpture from the Detroit Institute of Arts. It brought to Ireland the first extensive survey of American painting from the time of Colonial links to the beginning of the twentieth century. It included celebrated works by Frederic Edwin Church (Cotopaxi), John Singleton Copley (Watson and the Shark), and James McNeill Whistler (Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket).
The artists knew European art and borrowed from it, but they developed their own individual styles, which is what made this exhibition a unique insight into American culture. A strong portrait tradition runs from John Singleton Copley and Gilbert Stuart to Thomas Sully and John Singer Sargent. Landscapists like Thomas Cole and Jasper Cropsey of the Hudson River School, redefined American landscape. In the nineteenth century Winslow Homer, and others, captured the spirit of an emerging nation, while Realism and Impressionism in France were to have a strong influence on George Inness, Mary Cassatt, and Childe Hassam. The early twentieth century presents scenes of urban life and pleasure by the Ash Can School.
American Beauty was organised by the Detroit Institute of Arts. Dublin's National Gallery was the first venue for this exhibition after which it travelled to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the American Museum in Giverny.
Graham W.J. Beal
Scala Publishers Ltd, 2002
Editors Judith Ruskin and Elaine Garvey
ISBN 18579285 9